“Discover Biscayne Bay” to be dedicated at Miami Children’s Museum

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Press Release
Contact: Allison Turk: 305.450.7965
Date: March 17, 2004

Xavier Cortada mural entitled “Discover Biscayne Bay” to be dedicated by artist on March 17th at Miami Children’s Museum at 3:30 p.m.

Watson Island — The Biscayne Bay Environmental Education Alliance through its organizing partner Citizens for a Better South Florida commissioned a “Discover Biscayne Bay” mural that is now hanging at the Miami Children’s Museum, which is located on Biscayne Bay. The Biscayne Bay Environmental Education Alliance is a consortium of public and private organizations dedicated to raising awareness about issues affecting Biscayne Bay through education and outreach programs. The programs are funded through a contract between Citizens for a Better South Florida and the South Florida Water Management District.

“The Discover Biscayne Bay mural resulted from a public/private partnership among Citizens for a Better South Florida, the South Florida Water Management District, the Miami Children’s Museum, and Xavier Cortada,” said Irela Bagué, a member of the SFWMD Governing Board. “The artist’s depiction of the bay represents the vital connection between people and our environment. Now millions of visitors, residents and the children of Miami-Dade County can experience that connection at the Miami Children’s Museum where the mural will be on permanent display.”

The South Florida Water Management District received state appropriations for Biscayne Bay projects in response to recommendations from the Biscayne Bay Partnership Initiative (BBPI) established in 1999 by then Senator Mario Diaz-Balart, former Representative Carlos Lacasa and Senator Rudy Garcia. The mission of the BBPI was to develop an open and inclusive community based forum to survey public and private sector activities and programs affecting Biscayne Bay, and to provide recommendations for actions to protect, improve, and enhance the bay’s resources, its social, economic, and natural values, with its ecological health as a priority. and is the perfect backdrop to showcase opportunities for Bay access, education, and appreciation.

When the BBPI concluded its work, the legislature recognized a continued need to coordinate Biscayne Bay efforts, and subsequently chartered the creation of the Biscayne Bay Regional Restoration Coordination Team (BBRRCT.) Since the creation of the BBPI, the legislature has appropriated more than $18 million to the South Florida Water Management District towards Biscayne Bay projects, including funding for land conservation, education, the development of a Biscayne Bay Strategic Access Plan, habitat restoration, signage, and economic and scientific research.

The mural is one component of a comprehensive education program designed to raise awareness about issues relating to Biscayne Bay like storm water run-off, deterioration of marine habitat, visual and physical access, and boater safety. Other education efforts include hands-on activities with school children to teach water quality monitoring, training volunteers to identify and plant drought tolerant plants for watershed preservation, a boater safety course designed to protect sea grass beds and marine habitat, a http://www.discoverbiscaynebay.org website, and public forums.

Citizens for a Better South Florida is a non-profit environmental education organization dedicated to instilling environmental awareness among the diverse and multi-cultural populations within South Florida.